Carnivorous flightless birds, with tremendously large and powerful beaks, that can be encountered in various Dragon Quest titles. Great Beaks, and their palette-swapped cousins, debuted in Enix's 1988 Dragon Quest III: And Thus Into Legend . . . Japanese Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom) roleplaying video game (RPG), which was subsequently translated and released in North America (on March 12, 1992) as Dragon Warrior III for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).
Below is the official Great Beak illustration, drawn by Akira Toriyama (of Dragon Ball fame). While the programmers changed the colors of the creature in the game, I opted to paint mine to match Toriyama's, as I feel that the original artist's work is the definitive source material.
And here's another image of a Great Beak, and an assortment of other monsters, surrounding a party of adventurers, taken from the Japanese Famicom instruction manual:
As usual, because I really don't like making them, I started out with the legs. I simply rolled up long papier-mâché snakes, bent and cut them into the proper configurations, and then built those skeletons up with additional strips of newsprint and clumps of tissue paper. While the legs may look like they contain some, I didn't use any wire at all to construct this model!
To fabricate the upper and lower beak halves, I compacted a piece of aluminum foil into that shape (to use as a form), glued several layers of newsprint around that, and then pulled the resulting hollow paper sheath free of said aluminum support and cut it down to the proper shape/size. I then glued the upper and lower beak components onto the roughed-out head shape as shown.
That done, I moved on to developing the features, adding eyes, the feather head crest, and other details. Finally, I went over everything with my woodburner (to smooth/harden the papier-mâché and do a bit of surface detailing) and permanently attached the legs to the body. Here's the fully assembled Great Beak before I painted it:
For the most part, other than some asymmetry here-and-there, I'm happy with how the finished figure came out, but I think it would have looked better had I covered more of the head, especially the back, with the spiked feathers, rather than just limiting them to a "mohawk" crest. I was also contemplating flocking all of the white areas, but I was afraid I'd lose some of the body's shape/definition in the process (or make it too bulky-looking in appearance), so, I ultimately decided to leave things as-is.
These are digitally recolored mockups (done with the GIMP art program), made to match the NES sprites, to show what my Great Beak figurine might have looked like had I gone that route. In retrospect, I think I would have enjoyed the Avenger Beak color arrangement more than this one. However, given my incredibly indecisive nature, if I had done so, I'd probably be writing right now that I wish that I had made my Avenger Beak as a white Great Beak instead--yes, I'm impossible to please like that. And it's at times like this that I can also see the benefits of making a mold, as that would have allowed me to make multiple casts of the creature, so that I could have one of each possible "flavor". Who doesn't want an army of big-beaked, rainbow-hued, flightless birds?
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